The Urban Garden project: Part 3

05 November 2016

How do you create a green space in the middle of a city? In part 1 we met Plantparken, an urban garden collective in Malmö, Sweden. In part 2, we picked up the spades, loaned a plot and got started ourselves. Now for the best part—the harvest! 

Earlier in our project, we met Will. He’s the transplanted Aussie who lent us part of his plot and gave us great tips to get growing. In this final installment, we visited the garden just before sunny summer turned into rainy autumn. Will shared his secrets for harvesting and enjoying the fruits (and veg) of our labour. Lucky for us, he’s also a hamburger enthusiast, so he has some great ideas and impressive grill skills for eating up everything that’s grown up!
 

For starters, harvesting is hands-on and gloriously dirty, so use gloves if you like. Will brings along a hand spade, a hand trident and “an optimistic attitude” in case of disappointment. To know when produce is ready, his best tip is to dig some up and have a bite! He suggests harvesting when the size is a little under what you’d see at the grocers. “There aren’t any prizes for the biggest vegetables. They lose flavour and become woody, too.” To protect your plumbing at home (Will nearly learned this the hard way), wash and rinse on site. 

“I love to plant pots like herbs, chillies and tomatoes to bring indoors and see green over the winter. I go a bit overboard and very little light gets in, which my wife doesn’t love.” 

Will, urban gardener

When he has surplus food, Will shares it with family and friends or hangs onto it for use during the offseason. Thyme and oregano can be frozen or dried in a brown paper bag. Basil makes great pesto. Carrots, fennel and beets are pickling perfect. Berries are good jam candidates, just like tomatoes can become chutney. Mostly, he likes to use as much as possible straightaway—for burgers, of course. At Plantparken, he and some fellow gardeners brought in a permanent grill and made a grassy play area for the kids.  

After digging and rinsing, Will went to work making some grub. He chopped up our potatoes and colourful carrots from his plot and fried them in a pan on the grill with some olive oil and rosemary. The burger is a simple grilled portobello mushroom with slices of boiled beets, grilled onions and tomatoes. Our greens made a great salad and burger add-on. For a quenching complement, our strawberries, rhubarb and mint went into a fruit-infused water. The verdict? Success. 
 
Want to try? Check out Will’s recipes for the veg burger, sides and fruity water
 
Thanks to Will, Tamara and the Plantparken crew for sharing this urban garden experience with us!
 “I’ve eaten more burgers than a person probably should, but I’ve never had one made using ingredients I planted myself. Something about it just tastes better!”
 Lasse, digital designer and dirt digger
 

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Interior designer: Nathalie Kamkum/Genevieve Jorn
Recipe developer: Will Oldfield
Digital designer: Lasse Johansson
Copywriter: Marissa Frayer
Photographer: Andrea Papini
Editor: Linda Harkell